Kat was born in Seattle in 1930, the depression era. She became the
first person in her family to go to college by attending the University
of Washington for one year. There she met and married Army Sergeant
When the marriage fell through, Kat took her four year-old daughter to
live in Mexico City, Mexico, here she taught English to first graders at
a private elementary school for five years.
She returned to the United States in 1960, got a job as a secretary, and
became an avid international folk dancer. She and her daughter Josie
(who was now twelve) joined what would become the famed Los Angeles
It was while living in Los Angeles that Kat read the book “Walden Two”
by BF Skinner. She became obsessed with the idea of a group of people
who could live cooperatively, with true equality of income. In 1967,
with six other like-minded souls, she founded Twin Oaks Community in Louisa.
The early years at Twin Oaks were difficult but exciting. Kat believed
in the idea of the community so strongly that she was not deterred by 25
cents a week spending money, having to take turns commuting to Richmond
to find temporary work, or by folks who found the lifestyle too
difficult and left.
She believed strongly in equality, and was careful to include others in
setting up by-laws that would prevent any one person from telling others
what to do. An incisive thinker, she “led through persuasion” and helped
put in place systems that still help make Twin Oaks the success it is today.
Over time, Kat helped form two other communities also still in
existence: East Wind in Missouri and Acorn in Louisa county. She wrote
many of the early Twin Oaks newsletters, as well as two books on the
subject of Twin Oaks: “A Walden Two Experiment” and “Is It Utopia Yet?”
At the age of 70, with not much physical strength, Kat decided she
wanted to try living in a house of her own, something she had never had
the opportunity to do. She moved into a tiny little house in Mineral (near Twin Oaks and Acorn),
and enjoyed planting many beautiful flowers, rescuing five cats of her
own, and bottle- feeding the occasional litter as a foster mom. In
December 2007, when she became too weak to live on her own, Twin Oaks
graciously took her back in and took care of her in a way that only the
most attentive and loving of families would have done. When she passed
away, her beloved cat Oolong was by her side.